The definitive cure for world-weariness has opened in Noe Valley. No matter what year you were born, something in Buttons Candy Bar will stop you dead as you suddenly remember the last time you got your paws on one. (For me, it was a Chocolate Charleston Chew, the long kind, the airy gumminess of which has not changed since I ate my last one after Little League, circa-1991.)
Amid rocking horses and toy trucks lie tubs of frosted cupcake and popcorn brittle taffy, Abba-Zabas, Clark's Teaberry Gum, Chuckles and Pez. A freezer holds Klondike Bars and It's-Its. There are also novelties such as vintage spiral-bound journals and soap cupcakes and other boxed bonbons for the bath. Under glass up front, you can find adult confections such as Sweet Jubilee Gourmet Chocolates, but that's almost a distraction.
Along the wall, shelves of apothecary jars hold M&Ms (appealingly separated by color), Swedish fish, licorice, gummy peaches, and all manner of things no one born in the twentieth century would really ever buy for themselves unless engulfed in a tsunami of nostalgia. The lady behind the counter is as peppy as you could ever hope, and there's no Gloppy the Molasses Monster to remind you of the perils of sugar.
It's pure joy, it is. Don't ask snotty grown-up questions like, "How would anyone pay commercial rent on 24th and Noe by racking up $3 sales?" That's what Veruca Salt would do, and we all know what happened to her, bad egg that she was. Just show Grandma your report card and go over to Buttons posthaste.
Buttons Candy Bar, 4027 24th St.